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by Julie Brooks

Polite notice. All designs are copyright protected. I hope you will be inspired by my designs but please do not copy them. Thank you.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Online Creative Retreat fun

Hi everyone

I recently took part in an online creative retreat and had loads of fun trying different art materials, exploring different techniques, in a vain attempt to try to find "my style". Well, at the end of the weekend I knew what I'd enjoyed the most but I still don't think I have a particular signature style lol!

Here are the pieces I created, in no particular order!


My favourite piece, painted with acrylics

Unfinished

Meditation/Ispiration Mandala

Faces are not my forte!

Mark making using pastels, crayons and ink

More mark making, tried callicreative pens - they are water-soluble!

Loved doing this, although there's room for improvement - all acrylics

Just playing with shape and colour

Interesting - this appeared from some random scribbles

I love using blocks of colour in an abstract way

Mixed media collage - not entirely happy with this, but it was completed in only an hour!

My clay floral mandala drawings

Painting without thinking - no big idea, just paint what comes - love what I ended up with!

I may never finish this, it's a dark piece and I actually felt quite depressed
about it, which is why it never got further than this

My clay floral mandala decorations, ready to paint and varnish

A left-over sheet of paper which I'd used to remove excess paint from another
piece. I quite like this and will find a use for it!

So, it was interesting, sometimes intense, and overall a lot of fun. I enjoyed immersing myself for the weekend and feel there are things I can build on from this experience.

Kind comments always welcome!

Thanks for visiting!

Bye for now,
Julie x

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Thoughts

Hi everyone, it's been a while. The months just seem to run away these days.

In a few future posts I will be sharing with you some of the pieces of art I created during a recent online creative retreat. It was fun, intense, emotional and both satisfying and challenging in equal measure. Before the weekend retreat began, all participants were sent a "Permission Slip", which I loved and which I printed out and still have at my work space now.


Words to live by if you're a creative soul.

So, watch this space for my posts sharing what I created - good and bad, ugly and beautiful. I won't leave anything out!

In the meantime, I have been contemplating things from another perspective, the perspective of the retailer, which I am, and here are some thoughts which came pouring out of my head earlier today as a result of some recent events:


What's on my mind, the Facebook posting thingy always asks, prompting us to type what's on our mind.

So, here's what's on my mind:

I am baffled as to why people in the UK would rather support and shop at online stockists in the States than UK stockists for products which they can just as easily get at UK stockists, which would help support UK businesses, and they would probably get them cheaper because the postage will be lower than buying from the States (unless there's free international postage on offer of course) and they don't run the risk of being hit by the Customs gremlins with an extra fee. Products manufactured in the States and sold in the States will of course look cheaper than they are in UK shops, because UK stockists have import costs to bear which retailers in the States don't, and these have to be added on to the cost of the product otherwise every UK retailer of anything not UK runs the risk of very quickly becoming bankrupt! But if UK retailers are going to the trouble of ordering in these much sought after products from the States, the least the UK crafting public can do is have the courtesy to support those businesses and make it worth all the hassle of placing the order, waiting for the shipment to arrive at Customs, waiting for the import bill to arrive (there are always admin fees if nothing else) and then finally taking delivery of these "holy grail" must-have crafting products. But people are seemingly tempted away from supporting their own country’s struggling businesses because of little incentives which amount to only a few pounds, which they would save on shipping if they shopped in this country in the first place.

I am baffled as to why it should be that a UK retailer can seemingly get a much better deal for importing certain goods from the States than a UK wholesaler can.

I am baffled as to why there is so much brand devaluation going on right, left and centre, prices being slashed to ridiculous levels, which then EVERYONE comes to expect, thus making it impossible to achieve anything other than break-even, and some UK retailers are seemingly doing everything they can to push out the competition, when we're all just trying to do the same thing - make an honest living, earn a crust to pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads, selling products we are all passionate about.

Why has it all become so desperate and ruthless? It seems to me, in many ways, a very hostile environment, a battleground, where other people don't matter anymore, the only thing that matters is self. There is a lot of selfishness around, it permeates throughout all the layers of society. "It's all about me", seems to be the order of the day for many. Why? So sad. It's no wonder this country is in the doldrums, in every sense of the word, and it's no good for this planet as a whole, if things do not change soon and drastically. Don't get me wrong, there are lovely, kind, gentle, considerate people out there, doing what they can to help others without being asked. They give so much of themselves without expectation of any kind of reward. True heroes and angels, every one of them.

We need more heroes and angels. We should all be working together, for the common good, which is to help support and preserve UK businesses and make this country a strong trading partner in the Global marketplace. It should never be the “every man for himself” situation, which I am seeing everywhere I look now.




Thanks for listening and see you all soon.

Julie x

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Urban Domination

Hi everyone

I'd like to share a small canvas I painted a little while ago, which I hope you will like. I called it "Urban Domination".


It's painted with acrylics and depicts man and nature/green space being sucked up by the very dominant, and growing, urban sprawl which has taken over our lives and work, becoming more and more menacing, demanding and overpowering which each passing day.

I really enjoyed painting this and hope you like it too.

Bye for now,
Julie x

Monday, 12 June 2017

Dream Machine

Good afternoon everyone, I hope your Monday has been fabulous, wherever you are and whatever you have been doing.

I have another little home decor piece to share with you today. It was fun to do and I hope you like it.


I love the 1960s camper vans and there is one lives across the road from us. I always know when they're taking it out for a spin - the engine sound is unmistakable!

Anyway, for this piece I used a First Edition IndigoBlu stamp called Camper Van and stamped the image using archival ink onto watercolour paper. I used distress inks and water to paint all around the stamped vans with a light green wash and then painted all but one camper van grey, and then chose two bright colours to make the one camper van pop! I stamped another camper van onto more watercolour cardstock, painted it, fussy cut it and adhered it on top of the first one using foam pads.

I created a couple of banners on my computer with the words "Passport to Freedom" and "Dream Machine", because I think this is probably what most people think when they see these iconic vans, and to own one would be a dream for many people.

I painted the mount, again using distress inks and water, and then drew and hand-cut the little white hearts to finish it off.

I love this piece, it makes me smile. I hope you like it too.

Thanks for stopping by.

See you soon,
Julie x


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Pretty Steampunk home decor

Hi again everyone

Yay, two posts in one day - you are spoilt LOL!

This is a piece I began a year ago! It started life as an idea for a card, but stalled half way through for various reasons which I won't bore you with! Call it artist's angst if you like! Anyway, after much pounding of my out-of-practice little grey cells, I FINALLY managed to complete it and I am very happy with it.


So, this is a 6 inch wooden box frame which I painted with white acrylic. Inside, I have a layered background of cogs, time pieces, flourishes and an old typewriter, which was all taken from some papers I had in my stash and out of which I created a collage, along with using some elements from a stamp set which were applied using black distress ink.

Taking the colours in that background as my guide, I painted a Tando chipboard butterfly and some mulberry paper flowers using acrylic paints (DecoArt Crafter's Acrylic, DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic and Winsor & Newton), and also applied some just using my fingertips rather than a brush, until I was happy with how they looked, then fixed them in place.

Finally I added tiny black micro beads to the centres of the flowers and the butterfly's body for some extra dimension. Goodness me, those beads go everywhere! A handy tip here is to have a sheet of paper underneath your project, which is pre-creased down the centre, so that you can (carefully) tip the excess beads off your project and pour them back into the pot once you're done. I also found that using the narrow end of my spatula to take a few beads out of the pot at a time was much easier than using my fingers as they kept getting stuck under my nails LOL.

I love how this turned out and hope you like it too and would love to read your comments.

That's it from me for today.

Bye for now,
Julie x

Abstract Canvas

Hi everyone

Wow, the weeks are flying by! I can't believe we're approaching the middle of June already. I love this time of year, with only about 4 hours of darkness at night.

So, I am still enjoying indulging in lots of different crafts, as and when I choose, but I have to say at the moment I do love dabbling in home decor and mixed media, or simply painting with acrylics on canvas. Here is a 12x12 canvas I created recently, which is very abstract.


I called this piece "Garden Windows", but others have suggested they see a bridge, construction of some kind, and movement. Well, I guess there is definitely construction and movement in this piece. I know what I see in it, hence the name, but I wonder what you see? I'd love you to leave me a comment telling me. I find it endlessly fascinating that one piece of art can mean so many different things to so many people, don't you?

Short and sweet, just like me!

Bye for now,
Julie x

Thursday, 27 April 2017

12 x 12 Canvas Incredible Beautiful

Hello everyone

Gosh, it's so cold again here at the moment. Two weeks ago we enjoyed a lovely, albeit brief, spell of lovely warm weather and it really did feel like spring had arrived, but these last few days have been so cold, with brisk and chilling breezes, rain and hailstones, that we've had the heating on full blast and even fired up the wood burner last night! Still, warmer weather is just around the corner, or so we're being told, so I'm hoping we will return to more spring-like conditions very soon.

Meanwhile, I painted another canvas, a 12x12 one. I am really happy with how it turned out.


I love playing with colour and sketchy is more my style, and I think my style comes through really well in this piece.

I used lots of acrylic paints and finished the piece by stamping a few inspirational words in black archival ink and stencilling some random shapes and textures using distress ink.

My favourite thing on this piece of art, well, two things actually! I love the combination of the blue with the pink in the background, with the odd hint of yellow coming through, and I also love my biggest butterfly. The whole thing makes me smile. I have called it "Incredible Beautiful" because I think nature is incredible and beautiful.

I hope you like it. Here are a couple of close-ups.



And, great news, you can now buy from my Etsy shop without having an Etsy account!

Bye for now!
Julie x

Monday, 13 March 2017

Take Time

Hi everyone

A really quick post from me today to share some canvasses I finished recently.

In this first one I used Tando chipboards, Imagination Crafts stencils, DecoArt Crafter's Acrylic paints and some Tim Holtz Idea-ology bits - tissue tape, big chat stickers and game spinners. I gave this one a name: "Take Time", taken from the big chat stickers I used.


In the next canvas I used lots of texture paste roughly applied to the surface with a palette knife, DecoArt Crafter's Acrylic and Media Fluid paints, inspirational word stamps from a Crafter's Companion Textures Elements set and some die-cut butterflies. This one is called "Believe Grow Dream".

And finally a canvas where I used texture paste, stencils, distress inks for the background colours, media fluid acrylic, more inspirational words, a few micro beads and a die-cut dragonfly. This one is called "Hope Courage Strength Faith", words which are synonymous with the dragonfly, a beautiful creature which has managed to survive and overcome so many challenges since first evolving on Planet Earth in prehistoric times.

I hope you like them as much as I do and would love to read your comments. Thanks for visiting.

Bye for now!
Julie x

Sunday, 5 March 2017

two for the price of one

Good afternoon

I hope this finds you all well and enjoying some crafty time this weekend. I can't believe it's March already - where is the year going?

We actually spent some time in the garden yesterday, it was warm enough in the sun, so I enjoyed my first sit on the patio of this year and it was bliss, even with the traffic noise, which we do get a lot of sometimes because we live quite near to a busy road. I still enjoyed every minute basking like a lizard.

We replanted a huge clump of yellow flag iris which had been in the pond but had grown to such an extent that there was hardly any pond left lol, so they had to come out, and we'd pulled them out in January while there were no froggies in there - or so we thought - because one did appear in amongst the base of the flower stems while we were moving it, much to our surprise. We've relocated the iris to what was once, in this property's hey day, a formal pond. Very posh lol! It's a shallow area, only about 18 inches deep, and now filled with soil with quite a high clay content, which will be ideal for holding moisture for the iris and of course if it gets really dry in the summer we'll have to just completely soak it with water, but that's ok. It was preferable to do this than either reduce down the size of the plant and put it back in the pond where it would have just taken over again, or plant it around the edge somewhere where it would have completely taken over the entire garden eventually. The old formal pond has proper structured sides so should contain it really well.

We have some lovely crocuses in the garden, white, purple and yellow, which add a very welcome splash of colour. We also have frog spawn in the pond again so no doubt we'll have more little froglets hopping around in the summer - they are unbelievably cute when they're only as long as your thumb nail! Our flowering redcurrant, the quince and the jasmine all have lots of flower buds and some flowers already open. The pear tree has loads of new growth buds all over so let's hope for favourable conditions this year and a bumper crop in the autumn - last year's crop was pretty dismal but we did get a couple of very tasty pear crumbles out of them! So, Spring is definitely just around the corner and we've twice had washing outside to dry - bonus!

Anyway, today I have two cards to share which I made for two more birthdays in our family, so this post gives you two for the price of one! The first was for my Dad who turned 81 and the second was for one of my nieces who turned 21. I feel sooooo old!
Dad's card was also from our son, so I had to figure out a way to get Dad and Grandad on the front of the card because we wanted it personalised somehow. I also didn't want to use any DIY or gardening images, or sports, or cars, boats, trains or planes lol. So instead I came up with this design, which worked out ok and I'm quite happy with it. I used various papers, black and white gingham ribbon, a Happy Birthday die from Dovecraft, With Love from the Modern Sentiments set by First Edition, the male sentiments are also a First Edition set, and my X-Cut Nesting Stars dies.


The other card was for our niece who turned 21 two days before my Dad turned 81! Again, this was also from our son, but I didn't personalise this one at all.

I used a Karen Burniston die set for the pivot butterflies and a different die for the smaller butterflies, and yet another set for the 21 (I think both of these were freebies with magazines). The Happy Birthday banner is from the First Edition Modern Sentiments set. I also fussy cut some flowers to add more colour and decoration.

I hope you like both of these cards and I'll be back with another post soon.

Bye for now,
Julie x

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

New Blog!

Hi everyone

Just a quick post from me today to tell you all that we have now set up a new and separate blog for our shop, so this blog - Beebaab Designs - will purely be my personal work and no longer connected with the shop.

While I'm here, I'd like to share a couple of canvasses I finished yesterday - hope you like them. They're both 10 x 8 inches. On one background I used inks, on the other I used acrylic paints. I love them both, but then I am rather biased!




See you soon!
Julie x

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Grungy birthday card

Hello everyone

Today I'd like to share a birthday card I made a couple of weeks ago which uses mainly inks and stamps.
 Materials used:
Sweet Dixie Nesting Star dies
distress inks: mermaid lagoon, fossilized amber, evergreen bough, broken china, pumice stone
archival ink: jet black
stamp sets: Crafter's Companion Textures Elements sets Words To Inspire 1 and Splats And Accessories 2; Signature Collection Just For Men Urban Graffiti
All of which can be purchased at our shop: www.beebaabcraftingsupplies.co.uk

1. I began by taking a piece of artist acrylic cardstock and blending the first four distress inks until I was happy with the way it looked. This cardstock is great because the inks don't soak into it in the same way as standard cardstock, so it makes blending the inks a breeze, and it's textured, which I love. We don't yet stock this particular kind of cardstock in the shop but we do stock Tim Holtz's new Heavystock and his Watercolour cardstock, either of which would work equally well.

2. I chose a bold image of a guitar from some papers I've had for a few years now and fussy cut around it and figured out where to place it on the card.

3. The two Textures Elements stamp sets come as one rubber sheet per set, with various images etched into the sheet, so I always cut these up so I can use them individually.

4. So the next step was to add lots of detail and interest using the stamp sets and a mix of distress inks and archival inks. Tip: even if you're using a clear polymer stamp rather than a rubber stamp, you can apply distress ink to the stamp, then spritz it with water before stamping onto your project, which will give you a less defined image, almost watercolour in style, which I find works well in my grungy projects. It can seem as if the water-based distress ink isn't "sticking" to the clear polymer stamp, but it is there! Keep adding detail, building the layers, until you're happy with how it looks. I also did some spritz & flick with water and used a piece of kitchen towelling to dab away the water, which has the effect of lifting the ink off the card to give it a rain splattered appearance.






5. Once I was happy with the detail on my background I fixed the guitar image in place. (You could also use big bold images stamped using archival ink in place of images printed on paper or card.)

6. I stamped the sentiment "happy birthday" using jet black archival ink.

7. The stars were produced using two different sized dies from a nesting star dies set - to make the star with the hollow centre you simply place the smaller die inside the larger one and send it through the die cutting machine in one go. This also leaves you with a smaller star to use if you wish.

8. I wrapped some embroidery floss around the card twice, crossing it over on the front and tying in a simple knot and trimming the ends, then I fixed my stars in place using foam squares. I had a couple of small stars left so I glued them directly onto the card.

9. I layered this onto a piece of black cardstock, and then onto a white base card.

This grungy card came together really well and once you get the hang of using texture stamps to add interest you'll be addicted! It's so satisfying when a card comes together in this way, and the recipient was delighted with it!

Thanks for visiting. Back soon!
Julie x

Monday, 16 January 2017

totally tropical ....

Good morning everyone

At the start of what apparently is going to be a very grey and dull week here in the UK, with conditions that are far from "totally tropical", I thought I'd brighten your day with something I made a couple of weeks ago.


Materials used: Tando Heart-Shaped Mini Printer Tray
                        First Edition Tropical dies set
                        white acrylic paint
                        DecoArt Media Texture Sand Paste
                        Starlights Metallics Platinum paint
                        Distress Inks: Abandoned Coral and Mermaid Lagoon
                        papers from my stash
                        beads from my stash

The Tando printer trays come in four sturdy chipboard layers - a solid base layer and three layers with apertures, and you glue it all together to make a kind of shadow box with compartments. You could use less layers if you wanted something with less depth.

The first step was to glue a sheet of paper from my stash to the base layer to provide a background, and I then painted and glued together the layers. I used a couple of coats of white acrylic paint to give a good white base to work from.

Next I wanted to add sand. I used the texture sand paste on most of the piece and left it to dry. Once it was completely dry I painted it with the Starlights platinum paint.

Using the dies from the First Edition Tropical set I cut my various embellishments out of assorted papers. This die set includes a flower, a cocktail, sunglasses, surf boards, palm trees, a pineapple and a fish. The only one I didn't use in this piece was the fish. They cut really well, even through thicker card and papers. They mostly require two lots of cutting because they are designed in such a way that various parts create either a second layer or fill-ins in a different colour or pattern of your choosing to create a more dimensional appearance.

Once assembled I figured out my placement, which took a bit of time because I couldn't make my mind up on some things - typical me really, half my time on any make is the time I take making up my mind where to place embellishments! Anyway, once I had a clear idea of where I was going to put things I fixed them in place with glue and foam pads. The papers I chose were from a DCWV paper pad I've had for a while, called Safari Kids. I hadn't used any of it, which is not unusual as I'm a typical paper hoarder! The papers included one covered in a tropical leaf print, which was perfect for the base, and another had some little palm trees in two sizes on it, which was very lucky and perfect for this piece so I cut a few out to add in some of the apertures.

I painted three beads to look like coconuts on the desert island. Fortunately they have holes through the centre so I threaded each one onto a pin, painted them then rested the pins on one of the apertures in my piece to hold them up off the desk so that the beads could dry. Once completely dry I glued them in place.

I left it like that for a while, thinking I was happy with it as it was, but it was lacking warmth, and I was going for a tropical sunset kind of feel, so then I carefully inked around the embellishments, frame and inside the compartments with the two distress inks to give the appearance of a beautiful tropical sunset.

Finally I added the words totally tropical which were computer generated.

Each time I look at this piece it cheers me up no end on these grey dismal winter days and I can almost feel the warmth of that gentle tropical breeze blowing through the palm trees as I sip my cocktail on the beach. I hope you like it too.

All the products listed, except papers and beads, can be found at our shop here, so do pop over and pick up this little bundle and make your own totally tropical scene.

Bye for now,
Julie x

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Mixed Media canvas

Hi everyone, welcome to 2017! Whether you were eager for 2016 to be over or have found yourself dragged kicking and screaming into 2017, it's here! A new year, a new chapter in that wonderful journey called life. I wonder what this year has in store for us all? And that was the thought behind my little mixed media canvas.

It's only a small piece, 7 x 5 or something like that, because I didn't want that gorgeous face getting lost or overwhelmed.

I used Andy Skinner's 6x6 Baroque Stencil and his Typeface stencil (8x8)DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics and Tando Creative embellishments, amongst other things, to create a pretty little canvas heralding the arrival of 2017. Full of questions as to which direction I will go in with respect to various aspects of my life and what 2017 holds in store for me, I knew I wanted that gorgeous face looking towards 2017 and what it will bring.

First off I laid down my texture using the two stencils and white texture paste. Once the texture paste was dry I gave the whole thing a thin coat of white gesso and left that to dry.

The next step was to start laying down colour and I chose Prussian Blue Hue, Cobalt Teal Hue, Quinacridone Gold and Vermillion. Some of it was applied "neat" and some was slightly watered down, to achieve different degrees of shading. I kept applying and reapplying with the various colours until I was happy with the overall look of the piece. Fortunately the paints dry quite quickly so I didn't have to wait long.

Then I took a few Tando Creative embellishments, gave them a coat of white gesso, and once that was dried, a couple of coats of the Vermillion Media Fluid paint. I found one of my rubber stamps and applied some Prussian Blue Hue using my finger and stamped the design onto the flowers and butterfly. The arrows were painted with several layers of colour - Vermillion, Cobalt Teal Hue and a "dusting" of Prussian Blue Hue. I fixed them in place once dry.

I wanted the suggestion of more texture in the larger "clear" areas on the piece so I took a piece of black card and tapped the edge into the paints and also into jet black archival ink and added lines here and there, including a few on the face, and I think they really make a difference to how the piece looks.

Finally I added a few little orange seed beads here and there for a bit of extra texture.

I love this little piece and I hope you like it too.

All the products I used can be found on our website so hop over and fill your basket - we currently have a sale on everything with a massive 40% off - just use coupon code SALE40 at the checkout!

Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you all again soon.

Julie x